New Survey Shows Continued Momentum for the Adoption of Global Data Standards in the Medical Supply Chain, but Lots of Work Still to be Done

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HISCI, HSCA and University of Arkansas Release Survey Examining Progress Toward Adoption of Critical Standards to Increase Efficiency and Patient Safety and Reduce Costs

The Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) and the Healthcare Industry Supply Chain Institute (HISCI) announced the results of a new independent survey of health care providers, group purchasing organizations, device manufacturers, and wholesaler/distributors today about industry adoption and integration of unique product identification and location codes (global location numbers [GLNs] and global trade item numbers [GTINS]) that are used to track items in the health care supply chain to enhance clinical process, improve patient safety, and identify defective products during recalls.

Conducted by the University of Arkansas Center for Innovation in Healthcare Logistics, (CIHL) the fourth annual survey found that 71 percent of respondents are moving towards the adoption of a data standards system in the next five years, showing that awareness of the standards and their benefits improved slightly from 2010.

“The 2011 data showed that the health care system continues to make steady progress towards the adoption of a data standards system in the next five years, with improving efficiency as the key driver for implementation,” said Edward Pohl, Ph.D., the lead researcher on the study. “As expected, GLNs had a higher rate of adoption than GTINs, with the sunrise date for GLNs passing last year.”

According to the survey, 66 percent of group purchasing organizations are using GLNs in some or all appropriate transactions compared to 39 percent in 2010, and 22 percent of providers are using GLNs compared to 10 percent in 2010. Just 31 percent of respondents indicated that their organization is committed to meeting the sunrise date of December 31, 2012, for adopting GTINs, and 81 percent are not currently using GTINs in their organizational transactions currently.

In addition to general standards adoption rates, this year’s survey also examined some of the barriers that are impacting the implementation of GLNs and GTINs.

Key findings included:

  •     Of those indicating a lack of movement towards adoption of a data standards system, 49 percent indicated a lack of perceived value for their organization as a factor preventing adoption.
  •     Of all respondents, the three most cited barriers to adopting GLNs were lack of perceived need (37 percent), information system issues (35 percent) and lack of implementation plan (25%)
  •     Of all respondents, the three most cited barriers for adopting GTINs were technology issues (33 percent), lack of implementation plans (32 percent), and lack of organizational support (24 percent)

“HSCA and the group purchasing industry are committed to helping healthcare providers adopt global standards, which are critical for ensuring patient safety, the effective recall of defective medical devices, and to reducing overall healthcare costs,” said HSCA president, Curtis Rooney.

The online survey was conducted in fall 2011, with participation by 514 healthcare supply chain professionals. Over half of respondents work for a healthcare provider with the balance made up of manufacturers, group purchasing organizations, distributors and other healthcare supply chain organizations such as consulting. The vast majority of respondents hold manager-level and above positions within their organizations, including almost fifty executive respondents.

For complete results of the GLN adoption survey, please click here.


About HSCA
The Healthcare Supply Chain Association, formerly the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association, is a broad-based trade association that represents 16 group purchasing organizations, including for-profit and not-for-profit corporations, purchasing groups, associations, multi-hospital systems and healthcare provider alliances. HSCA’s mission is to advocate on behalf of healthcare group purchasing associations, to provide educational opportunities designed to improve efficiencies in the purchase, sale and utilization of all goods and services within the health industry and to promote meaningful dialogue between GPOs. For more information, visit

The Healthcare Industry Supply Chain Institute (HISCI) is a collaborative association that represents the entire healthcare supply chain, including suppliers/manufacturers, providers and group purchasing organizations. HISCI serves to improve and increase efficiencies within healthcare through best practice sharing, education and networking. For more information, visit

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Randi Kahn

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